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The day has arrived, yep its the day upon which I usually get my annual dose of god bothering. You see each year I usually go to the local Carols on the mountain up at the Mount Mee show-grounds. But its raining here at present and they predict that this weather may well continue all day and that it may even intensify into a heavy rain this evening.
It will be a shame if it is washed out because its one of those events that brings the local community up here on the mountain together, we say our ‘hail fellow well met(s)” and share mutual acknowledgement and the sort of trivialities that are the communal glue of any society. I will also be a shame for our children who enjoy the theatre of the event and even for unbelievers like me there will be the disappointment of not having an opportunity to explain to my son that there are some admirable aspects to the Christian template for a good society once you strip away the supernatural nonsense and undeliverable promises of an afterlife of eternal adoration and servitude to the deity. What is not to like about kindness to our fellows, forgiveness to those who wrong us, honesty and respect to others? Mostly though I just like Christmas with its feasting and gift giving to those who we love. I also love the conceits and theatre of the festival. For instance I just adore the patter with my son when I talk about what Santa may be bringing him this year.
“There is no Santa dad” my boy tells me every time and I always pretend to be shocked at his statement.
“Of course there is” I repeatedly insist even though I know he is not buying it.
“We all know that its you who buys the presents” he shoots back with one of those grins that melts my heart
Which of course leads into some far from subtle hints about just what those presents should be.
Mean while my lovely daughter points out that my Ebay search list has a new category that is consistent with her own hearts desire and I just smile…
When I heard about the new novel from from Stephen King I hoped that it might be a good read but I was also far from excited having been out of the habit of reading his books for many years. However when I discovered that it was to be a novel in my favourite Science fiction genre of time travel I was intrigued enough to mention my interest to my beautiful wife who took the hint and gave me the book for Christmas.
Now that I have finished the book well I have that “Gee that was good” feeling along with the unpleasant reality that a grand literary adventure is over the book mostly reminds me of Jack Finney’s also excellent time travel Tale “time and again” not the least because like Finney King does a masterful job of blending his fictional narrative into the fabric of historical events.Also like Finny’s book this novel is essentially a love story and a romance .
Its also a romance of sorts with the notion that Kennedy’s assassination was the sort of event that that political tragics think so important that they would undo it in a heartbeat with the expectation of nothing but wonderful consequences. Of course King would not allow such sentimentality and wishful thinking to spoil a good yarn so he instead peppers the whole narratives with the sort of unintended consequences that ensue from changing any event in the past.
The one thing that I do have issue with though is King’s contention that changing some things in the past could be more damaging than others. This is of course a very anthropomorphic view of history and I think that if time travel were possible that all changes to the events of the past would be of equal significance. Even so this is a work of fantasy and it was easy to suspend belief and just go along with the flow of the narrative and the rules of Kings universe.
For long term King fans there are even the occasional allusions to his back catalogue these little bon motts were nice and would probably go right past those who are reading 11.22.63 without any previous experience of this author. Pleasant to was the tightness of the narrative, he seems to have managed to reign in his tendency in some of his longer books to ramble and digress from the strongest stream of his imagination.
If you get the impression that I liked the book you would be absolutely correct and to be honest I look forward to the time when my memory of its narrative has faded enough that I can read it again and enjoy it anew.
Cue a TV miniseries of this book in the not to distant future…
Ah what joy the latte Sippers of the world bring to this aging conservative especially as they bend over backwards to prove with this post that they are absolutely enmeshed in rather puerile group-think. In any event I invite my dear readers to check out this post and be amazed at how 37 (at the time it came to my attention ) of them cut and pasting the same paragraph.
Any one for lamb chops?
This sort of political posturing is rather futile but also rather sadly amusing,
“I hereby pledge to do my utmost in 2013 and beyond to ensure that Tony Abbott never becomes the Prime Minister of Australia.
I will engage on the issues, on matters of character and on the facts that demonstrate that Tony Abbott is unsuitable to be Prime Minister of Australia. I know that any government lead by Tony Abbott, or any government that follows his lead, would inflict deep and lasting damage to the fabric of Australia that we trust and depend upon. I will expend any and all energies required to ensure Tony Abbott and his values are kept from The Lodge and the government benches in Parliament.”
To take the pledge copy and paste the pledge with your name to the comments below.
The Age is usually such a rabid AGW advocate but maybe this is the start of a new more balanced approach to the issue of climate change. Maybe its just a the removal of the execrable Jo Chandler from their staff that has seen them mellow, most likely its just a reflection of the fact that the interregnum between Christmas and new year is a time when regular writers are away on leave and the need for copy to fill the paper allows them to cast a wider net than usual. No matter what the reasons for its publication I found the piece by John Spooner most refreshing and worthy of praise:
I hope that the real reason that this piece has got such a prominent place in today’s Age is that the minions at Fairfax are finally realising that they have hitched their faith to a false religion and that its apparently golden idols are nothing but tat and cheap wax, that the cold hard light of truth is turning them into the misshapen formless blobs that we sceptics always thought that they were.
- Sceptics cool on climate studies (smh.com.au)
- George Monbiot, millenarian prophecy and his desire to see western society back into an “energy dark age” (iainhall.wordpress.com)
- The choices of Andrew Bolt: “Worry about the climate? I’d rather have an orgy!” (watchingthedeniers.wordpress.com)
- Climate change conforming to UN predictions: scientists (abc.net.au)
Transcript WITH REFERENCES now available at http://www.avoiceformen.com/mens-rights/refuting-40-years-of-lies-about-viole… – Exclusive interview with Domestic Violence & women’s shelter/women’s refuge pioneer Erin Pizzey. *Update* Extensive references have been added to the transcript, click the link to AVoiceForMen or my site here: http://deanesmay.com/2012/12/19/refuting-40-years-of-lies-about-violence/
Some really thought provoking stuff here
Over the last couple of months the usual suspects have been rather heartened by Labor’s improved position in the esteem of the voting public which has seen them standing stronger because they have obviously thought that Labor had the smallest hope of being returned at the next election, A perfect example of travelling in hope I suppose the latest news poll however will give them a reason to be depressed again though.
I just makes me think that maybe this should be Labor’s theme song:
I know what Julia wants for Christmas but her problem is that the voting Santas have mostly put Julia on the Naughty list and that means a lump of coal rather than the present of their vote….
- Labor’s stocks reverse in Newspoll (bigpondnews.com)
- Who polished Craig Thomson’s Knob? (iainhall.wordpress.com)
- Union corruption, Gillard and the Labor party (iainhall.wordpress.com)
- Labor ‘rorting’ the electoral roll- Pyne (bigpondnews.com)
- What would happen if Labor won the next election? (iainhall.wordpress.com)
- Woman In Labor Votes First, Then Heads To Hospital (chicago.cbslocal.com)
- Labor’s stock slides in latest Newspoll (news.com.au)
- Gillard hit on trust in poll slump (dailytelegraph.com.au)
Christmas time and its preamble are not always the most jolly time of the year and it especially unjolly for those who lose loved ones in the lead up to the highlight of the year. I appreciate this myself because many years ago I lost my own little brother to a traffic accident just a few days before Christmas, Today for instance we hear about the death of Christopher Hitchens who was not really my favourite sort of atheist at all, in fact I found his sort of militant and ungenerious stance about people of faith rather annoying. Frankly I think that there is nothing to be gained by being a hateful atheist who is totally dismissive of those who believe in anything supernatural, its what that belief inspires them to do in this life that matters more than the silliness of their catechism. Thus if an irrational belief inspires someone to do things that are worthy of praise, like helping the downtrodden or needy what does it matter that they do so out of a mistaken religious motivation? Its only when a religion motivates a follower to evil that we should be concerned rather than bemused. Anyway one way or the other Hitchens will now know of he was right or wrong about the supernatural and millions of his lefty acolytes will be weeping into their Lattes over his demise from Cancer .
Tenaciously hanging on to life after he fell from a ladder is Ian “Molly” Meldrum the often mocked but very passionate advocate for Australian popular music and a figure who has loomed large in the formative years of so many of my generation who grew up with Countdown. The accident that has laid him so low just shows how dangerous a place our homes can be and just how careful we all should be as we reach ah err “maturity”. Personally I hope that Meldrum makes a full recovery soon enough to celebrate Christmas with his family and friends . Which sort of brings me to what Christmas means to me as an atheist I have long been bemused by the iconography of this festival, I have loved and loathed some of the contemporary faux mythology about Santa Claus, the repeated and eternally re-enacted story of Jesus being born in a manger in Bethlehem but the one thing that still rings true is the self evident fact that it is festival when we share love with those who are close to us and generosity to perfect strangers . What is not to like about that? Its a spirit that needs nothing other worldly for substantiation and one that this unbeliever fully endorses.